The annual Memphis in May Festival has grown considerably over the last 35 years, and no portion of it moreso than the Beale Street Music Festival. One of the longest-running music festivals in the U.S., Beale Street Music Festival had its humble beginnings right down on Beale Street in 1976 & has grown consistently every year since.
Boasting a lineup which has been described by nearly everyone I’ve talked to as “The best variety of performers Beale Street Music Festival has ever had”, the 35th annual festival lands at Tom Lee Park in Memphis this weekend, April 29th thru May 1st. The customary 3-day festival passes sold out quickly & now you may purchase tickets for individual days at a cost of $30/day in advance or $37 at the gate.
If you live in Memphis & the mid-south, you’re patently aware that the last several days have not been kind to the city weather-wise. The Mississippi River is on the rise; however, the weather forecast for festival days appears to be fine (at least for Friday & Saturday). But as any Memphian who has ever been to the festival will tell you, always come prepared for the weather to change.
I’m certainly not letting this discourage me from attending. The 2011 BSMF features a number of performers that I’m personally excited to see live in Memphis. If you check the music player below & click on my schedule to follow along, you can hear music by the bands I’m personally planning to see.
(In Order of Festival Appearance):
FreeSol – Cage The Elephant – MGMT – B.o.B. – Flaming Lips – Amy Lavere – The New Pornographers – Mumford & Sons – 8ball & MJG – Lucinda Williams – Ke$ha – Amos Lee – Lucero – Robert Wolfman Belfour – Al Kapone – Cee Lo Green – Wilco
::: CLICK HERE ::: See My Schedule for BSMF 2011 / Where You’ll Find Me
::: THINGS ITS GOOD TO KNOW WHEN HEADING DOWNTOWN :::
THERE’S AN APP FOR THAT. This year Memphis In May has an iPhone/Android app that is FREE to download. Go to the App Store on your phone, search for the ‘Memphis In May’ app and install it. For Beale Street Music Festival, make sure you sign up for a free account with SCHED by clicking here & choosing “Free Forever”. This will allow you to share your picks with other festival attendees & friends to make it easier to find each other during the fest. You can check out my printable schedule of fest picks by clicking here.
ALL THE LITTLE BIRDS ON JAYBIRD STREET…. In 2011, the BSMF has upgraded — you can find them on Twitter by clicking here or like them on Facebook by clicking here. You can even check-in on Foursquare if that’s your thing. I’m told there will be QR codes posted around the park which you can scan with your web-enabled hand-held device to assist you in finding your way around. What’s a QR Code you say? It looks kinda like this –
REMEMBER THERE ARE FIVE STAGES AT TOM LEE PARK. Well, okay — three stages, a tent and a shack. But in Tom Lee Park, that’s a lot of walking you’re gonna do! Make sure you don’t wear your brand-new shoes to the festival, you’ll just ruin them. My personal choice? I love my Saucony Jazz. They are the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever owned, they look pretty cool and they can handle a lot of festival walking. They even make a style for vegans — when it comes to festivals, I swear by them. You can freshen up before the after party, but go casual and prepare to walk a lot. And hey — if walking is not your usual routine, make sure to stock up on Anti-Monkey Butt Powder, you might need it when you get home.
YOU PROBABLY CAN’T BRING IT WITH YOU. That’s not to say you can’t ride your bike downtown and lock it up somewhere or guzzle all the beer you want at home (though you shouldn’t drink and drive), but there’s a huge list of stuff you can’t bring into the park, including professional camera gear.
No beverages, bicycles, recording devices, cans, containers, coolers, food, glass bottles, laser pointers, lawn chairs, oversized umbrellas, pets, recording equipment, roller blades, roller skates, water guns, strollers, no thrown objects such as baseballs, footballs, frisbees-etc., or weapons. Food and beverages, including beer, are available from the concessionaires.
And hey — if you’re bold enough to bring an expensive DSLR with you into this festival knowing how crowded it will be (and possibly muddy), you might not be responsible enough to own it anyways.
PARKING KARMA ONLY WORKS ON THURSDAYS. If you don’t want to spend a ton of money on downtown parking, you can always hop the trolley as far east as Madison & Cleveland to come downtown. Taking the trolley is fun, inexpensive, and a lot cheaper than what you’ll pay to park right near Tom Lee Park.
::: Full lineup of artists appearing at the 2011 Beale Street Music Festival :::
John Mellencamp * Ke$ha * Jason Mraz * Stone Temple Pilots * MGMT * Godsmack * The Flaming Lips * Wilco * Cee Lo Green * Buckcherry * Jerry Lee Lewis * The Avett Brothers * B.o.B. *Mumford & Sons * Charlie Wilson * Sublime with Rome * Cake * Ludacris * Slightly Stoopid * Lucinda Williams * Kirk Whalum * Tommy Castro * Ziggy Marley * Bettye LaVette * Gregg Allman * Jimmie Vaughan with Lou Ann Barton * Macy Gray * Everclear * Saving Abel * Otis Clay * Cage the Elephant * Al Kapone * Amos Lee * The New Pornographers * John Hammond * J.J. Grey and Mofro * 8Ball & MJG * Hinder * Experimental Tropic Blues Band * Sick Puppies * Manchester Orchestra * Magic Slim & The Teardrops * Lucero * Drowning Pool * Hubert Sumlin * Lotus * Big Bill Morganfield * FreeSol * The Lee Boys * Devon Allman’s Honeytribe * Egypt Central * Jimbo Mathus & The Tri-State Coalition * Travis Wammack * Paul Thorn * Reba Russell Band * Preston Shannon * Amy LaVere * One Less Reason * Will Tucker Band * Blind Mississippi Morris * Kenny Brown * Grady Champion * Robert “Wolfman” Belfour * Brad Webb * Eric Hughes
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